Chamomile is the name given to the group of plants which belong to the family Asteraceae. Chamomile flowers are known for the aromatic and bitter taste. German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) are the two major types of chamomile used as herbal medicines. Chamomile tea is known for its medicinal properties and it is used as a tonic, anodyne, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti allergenic, and as a sedative.
Chamomile is generally considered safe and nontoxic. But as Chamomile is used to treat a wide range of conditions and diseases, both internally and externally, we cannot overlook chamomile tea side effects.
- According to the researches, Chamomile may increase the risk of bleeding or enhance the effects of warfarin therapy (anticoagulant therapy used to control and prevent thromboembolic disorders).
- Pregnant women should not use tincture or essential oil version, since, it may increase anticoagulant effects. Occasional consumption of the tea may help relieve nausea but excessive consumption of chamomile tea during pregnancy can lead to early uterine contractions and miscarriage.
- Anaphylactic shock symptoms (symptoms of serious and severe allergic reaction like difficulty in breathing, skin hives, unconsciousness, etc.) were noticed in a few children after ingestion of the tea.
- The tea may enhance the effects of anti-epileptic medications, increasing their sedative and cognitive effects.
- Those who have ragweed allergy, should be cautious about using chamomile tea at first. There have been reports of skin rashes and bronchial constriction.
- Nausea and vomiting are some of the main side effects of the tea. People taking higher than recommended doses of the herb are likely to suffer from these side effects.
- According to some study reports, if opioid analgesics and the sedative herbal supplements like valerian, kava and chamomile are taken simultaneously, then they may lead to increased central nervous system (CNS) depression.
- Studies show that chamomile tea eye washing can induce allergic conjunctivitis. Cases of contact dermatitis following its topical applications were reported at certain clinics. Matricaria recutita pollens present in the infusions are the allergens that can trigger such reactions.
How to Make Chamomile Tea
Dry powder or pills of chamomile are available in market. To make the tea:
- Take 3 grams (about 3 teaspoonfuls) of chamomile in a cup.
- Pour 5 ounces (about one-half cup) of boiling water over it.
- Steep 10 minutes.
- Strain. You may drink the tea 3-4 times a day as required.
- You may mix about 16 tablespoonfuls of chamomile with 1 quart of water and add the mixture to the bathtub.
- Chamomile is used in many hair care products for color.
- In order to treat burns, you may use creams or tea-soaked dressings instead of greasy ointments.
- You may apply cream having a 3% to 10% chamomile content for eczema, flaky or dry skin, psoriasis, etc., three to four times daily.
- Extract from the white and yellow heads of chamomile flowers works as an excellent skin soother and anti-inflammatory agent.
- Chamomile is best known for its essential oil called azulene which is used extensively in professional skin care products.
- Chamomile mouthwash is used to treat ulcers and swelling inside the mouth caused by radiation therapy or cancer drugs.
- Eye drops made from chamomile work great for tired eyes and mild ocular infections.
- An oral rinse made with 10-15 drops of German chamomile liquid extract in 100 ml warm water works great for oral mucositis. You may use it three times daily.
- Cold tea is used in a compress to help soothe tired, irritated eyes and it may even help treat conjunctivitis.
- Chamomile extract sprays are available which can be used to prevent sore throat after intubation. When combined with bittersweet, it can be used externally to treat bruises, sprains, calluses, and corns.
- Chamomile tea is used as an anti-inflammatory herbal tea.
- It works great for fevers, colds, and stomach ailments. It can ease symptoms of colds and flu by relieving headache and reducing fever.
- It is used to treat nerves and menstrual cramps.
- Babies and small children are also benefited with the tea when they suffer from colds or stomach problems.
- This tea helps relieve restlessness, tension, feelings of anxiety, migraine, tension headache and insomnia.
- It helps the body to get rid of mucus that is built up in colds, sinus infections and hay fever.
- If you add ground ginger to the tea, it can help alleviate distastes of food and loss of appetite.
- It helps ease stomach and intestinal disturbances.
Disclaimer: This HolisticZine article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.